tv [untitled] December 23, 2011 5:31am-6:01am PST
expressed that a big part of the homeless population consists of families. that was also in contention that the mayor himself -- and as a city, we have a responsibility to ensure that we're supporting the least among us and the growing number of homeless families or families at risk of homelessness is something that the city cannot ignore. i do want to thank the coalition and the families connected with the coalition for coming forward, for telling their stories, difficult stories to tell about being marginally housed oregon difficulties dealing with education situations. there are numerous stores already in the san francisco chronicle and the examiner about family homelessness in san francisco, and people coming forward to tell the stories, it is very difficult. but those types of synergies between advocates telling their
stories and media picking up on them are ways that we can actually shed light on our troubles and how we can come up with a response. i was very pleased to see, this morning, the story in "the chronicle" about a family making commitments to help families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. i think those types of support that come from time to time are essential for us to be able to support struggling families and to show the kind of city that we truly are. so we owe a great thanks to the efficacy effort for bringing this july, to the attention of city officials, and also to this family as well for their commitment to the families. i believe we have much more to do. as a city, not looking at -- and no, fixes in the last 18 months, we're looking at long-term, how we can put our services in place
and how we can support struggling families. i know we are greatly challenged in doing that with our recession and the number of jobs out there for people, as well as our city revenues and programming, but i think that is the work we can do, working together, community, city, and private foundation folks to be able to come up with solutions that can really work. i am pleased to see the story that came out today. i know we have folks from the mayor's office, as well as hsa and the housing authority who are here to explain some of the solutions we have currently. we will be asking questions about that. we'll also hear from advocates as well, about their experience, either being homeless or what solutions they can pose to us, as well as the city.
first up, we have someone from -- what was it? from the mayor's office. >> thank you, supervisor avalos. good morning, supervisor elsbernd. i know we're waiting on supervisor mar. i appreciate hearing about the plight of homeless families in san francisco. i want to give you an overview of the situation as we see it and then type for the city departments to talk about our response to the supervisor -- superintendent garcia needs to leave a little early, so we may start with the superintendent. in sentences go over the last 24 months, and nationwide, we have seen a marked increase in family homelessness. this is a difficult statistic to track, and i think you know that, largely because it is a difficult thing to talk about and a lot of the shame and things that may exist around that, but also sort of putting our hands around that and understanding the situation. the primary data point to use in san francisco is demand for a
full-service shelter system. folks who have said they're absolutely homeless in the shelter. it includes families were living with family and friends throughout the bay area, family staying in one of our current overnight shelters, families who, within a few months, will be reaching the time limit in our full-service shelter system. families living in residential hotels in the city and around the bay area. and families staying in cars and on the streets but there are currently 79 families in the city's full service system, and that is a long-term shelter where people have a room. there's food and service there. not the overnight shelter. in addition, there are 253 families on the waiting list waiting for shelter, an all-time high in san francisco. in 16 years, whenever see numbers that high. when we look to the national data with respect to homeless families, there is a few things we know. we know that they do not have higher levels of mental illness,
substance abuse, or engagement what the child protective system when compared to other poor families. they simply have a housing problem. in its san francisco, the problem is related to a dearth of affordable housing, often coupled with lack of income. i want to make sure people understand that this is very different than a chronic thomas issue that we have dealt with in san francisco. supervisor avalos: i think the sure chronic lawlessness and families in the mix of people who are chronically homeless is something that we have acknowledged. a few years ago, 71% -- 71 people were actually on the waiting list. now we have 253 people on the waiting list. i would call that a crisis. i think to deny whether is a crisis means we're not providing adequate response. i do like to see the response we're getting from the mayor's office and departments coming together. i think the response is because there is a crisis.
i would like to see some acknowledgement that it is so big that we have to respond. because the crisis is not just the families that are in the crisis itself, but it is all of our systems of care. our education system, as well. teachers who are working with students who -- you know, imagine -- managing classrooms, and we have a lot of homeless kids. we have to make sure everyone gets the support they need. the homeless kids getting the work in being able to meet the demands of the classroom as well as any other student. that is a huge part of our education system. other parts are in crisis as well that we need to be able to respond to. that is acknowledgement that and of economic together, that we have a crisis in the city that we can respond to, and we can make appropriate changes moving forward. >> supervisor, i absolutely do agree this is a crisis. we have an increase in homelessness with respective families. i was trying to explain the solutions we need to address this problem are very different
than the sword of solutions with respect to chronically homeless. that is the only issue was trying to put other to talk about. we have been informed by the student -- school district as the fall enrollment, they're all over 2000 kids in the families in transition program. of this number, 982 self report as being in sro's, shelters, or other homeless situations. we estimate that the overlap between those kids in the school district and the family shelter system that exists under hsa is about 200 families. our goal is to get those 200 families into housing right away. you'll hear about a program from the housing authority and hsa. you read this morning about how we want to address that population. i want to clearly state that this program is a direct result of a new public-private partnership between the salesforce foundation and this
collaboration between housing authority, human services agency, school districts, and others. merely talks about bringing the private sector in to address critical problems in the city. i want to talk about the school district numbers. i will be working with the school district to better understand what is going on there, the discrepancy between the numbers at the school district in the numbers that exist at hsa. i want to understand why there is a difference in those numbers. more importantly, i want to build a bridge between those kids at the school district in the homeless system of care, a better understanding of how to serve them and get them the help they need. not all are homeless. we want to make sure that they are all aware of the homeless system of care. this is absolutely a big problem in the city, the increase in family homelessness. it is ending we have seen nationwide that is happening, largely a result of this economy and of course the affordable housing problem in san francisco. we will have representatives
speaking today. carlos garcia is here, superintendent. henry alvarez from the housing authority will be speaking. trent from the human services agency. you talk about foreclosures and other things. teresa and brian are here from the mayor's office of housing and community development. i want to pause there and answer any questions you may have an end to presentations about our response to this problem about supervisor avalos: -- about this problem. supervisor avalos: let's just go right into the response and get this underway. thank you. this hearing was called pretty quickly, mostly because we are going to be in the hour sessions tomorrow -- ending our sessions tomorrow, and want to make sure we have a response and can have the city come together to decide how to respond. i really appreciate you all being here with such short notice. >> you're very welcome. i am going to bring a superintendent garcia, because
he will have to leave early. >> thank you, and good morning. first of all, i just wanted to come in and lend my support to having a meeting like this. i agree, this is a crisis. you know, we deal with it, and so does your wife, i think, on a daily basis, because our kids before us are going through some tough times right now, especially during the holiday season. i really wanted to thank all the different agencies, all the different groups that have pitched in to say, you know, this is important, and also our donor, the generous donation from that family. it is something that is great. in makes you believe that their resolutions in the city if we just get everybody in the same room. so happy that we have our folks here, because it to work together, i'd think this is the only way we can solve a problem like this. when we look at those
statistics, we have been following them for years, those numbers keep growing. we need to do something. we cannot afford it -- our city cannot afford to have over two thousand homeless children. those children deserve a home. here we are trying to figure how we're going to do that. i think it is valuable that everybody is stepping up. if we have a good discussion and if we could use and to impact those lives, i think it will mean not only a lot to this city, but it makes us stand up as a community to say that we do truly care about all our kids in san francisco, and we walk the talk. on behalf of the school district, and wanted thank you supervisors for putting something like this together. even if it is on short notice, we are here, ok? thank you very much. >> supervisors, good morning,
director of the human services agency here. i want to talk more specifically about the program expansion that we are undertaking and how the city, over the last the less well, months, but have certainly come together over the last couple of weeks, has developed a plan to respond to the crisis that you, supervisor, have helped bring to everyone's attention, as well as our partners in the advocacy community. in the short term, it is a two- prong approach, one that involves the housing authority working in partnership with the human services agency and our number of the partners. the second approach is an expansion of our rental assistance programs that are also in ministered by our nonprofit partners. in the first, the housing authority partnership, we have long been working with the housing authority to give preference points and provide priorities for families who are in a homeless shelter system, priority for public housing units.
what that means is that if the family has applied and they are on the waiting list, they get a certain amount of points that moves that family of on the waiting list to get into a vacant public housing units. over the last week, 10 days, we have been coleen the waiting list for public housing, along with the waiting list for shelter, as well as the 79 families were in shelter currently, it is who meets that criteria, who is on the waiting list. i got some numbers yesterday, sunday, and we're going to be referring 51 families to the housing authority for processing for beckham public housing units tomorrow -- for vacant public housing units to market a 37 of those families are from the waiting list for shelter. 13 are from families who are currently in shelter, and there's one family in the transitional housing program. supervisor avalos: all those 51
families, were they already on the hsa waiting list? >> they are on the public housing waiting list. 37 are on the shelter -- supervisor avalos: housing authority and public housing? >> correct. for the initial processing, those with families process, and we will continue to work with the housing authority as a new families come into the system to make that priority. really appreciate the housing authority and henry alvarez's partnership in this, because it will have an immediate impact for families who are waiting for permanent housing and certainly permanent affordable housing that the housing authority provides. we do have some longer-term ideas as well with the housing authority, and henry alvarez is here to speak to them in more detail. it has to do with, again, reopening the preference criteria on the waiting list and seeing if there is a way to
prioritize further homeless families in the city system of care. supervisor avalos: ideally, since we253 families on the waiting list for more long-term housing -- >> for long-term shelter. >> for shelter, we're trying to pare down that list. right now we found 51 slots, but you're looking at more slots there could be available? >> it is not simply the waiting list for shelter, which is 253 families, it is also the families that are currently in a shelter. that is the universe we're trying to pare down to get into public housing. you over that more slots in the shelter system, and then of course, degrees them. about longer term plans, reopening the discussion around preferences and preference points for homeless families on the public housing side, and looking at what some other
jurisdictions have done, which is the section a program, the vouchers at a public housing and whether or not -- well, we're going to explore whether we can set aside some section 8 vouchers for homeless families, and that is a discussion that we have begun and will continue to have. i am not going to pretend to know the hud rules that are part of the waiting list dynamics. henry alvarez can speak to that. but we're very enthusiastic about our renewed partnership with the housing authority. we have been working together for years, but this is something concrete they can have an impact in the near term and long term for homeless families. the other side of the approaches and we have been doing for years. i know you have been involved in it, the development of our rental subsidy programs for families using local dollars. we're very gracious for the family for stepping up last week to the reached out to us
and ask how they could help. the answer was fairly quick, expand the rental subsidy program, as well as move in assistance in case management as well, sort of looking at the successes we had in our programs that are currently administered by hamilton, compass, catholic charities, and general housing clinic. they have had success. the biggest barrier to housing, the biggest cause of homelessness among families is income, and lack of income to afford housing, particularly in high-cost city like san francisco. the best way to address and time is by supplementing the incumbent of that is what we plan to do. $1.5 million will be matched by over $800,000 that is currently in the marrison was fun. it is a ton were basically -- in the mayor's homeless fund. it is a fund with donations. we have had small donations over
the years. we had one big one a couple years ago from the dave matthews band. the money has been sitting there for crisis situations. i made the decision last week, when discussing the family about their deaths, that the city could step up as well and madge -- discussing with the family about their gifts, about the city stepping out as well in matching the donations. we're looking at an additional amount of money, probably another $750,000, the would be in our budget proposal to the board in june, which would be for fiscal year -- the following fiscal year, 2012-2013. that funding combined, we think we will add case worker staff to the nonprofit agencies that are currently administering the programs, both to identify the families, help them transition into housing, and provide necessary after-care, which
they're in rental subsidy housing, meaning access to the services those families need to increase their income, maintain their income, that sort of thing. but the idea that there will hopefully find a permit housing on their own over a number of years. supervisor avalos: we're not creating a new subsidy program, just working with an existing program? >> we're adding money to existing programs. case workers. funding towards rental subsidies. the initial thinking is that subsidies we're of budgeting for an 18-month to 24-month time span. which is why we will add funding in the next school year so we can maintain that commitment of 18 to 24 months. >supervisor avalos: that is for family? >> per family. supervisor avalos: our rental housing program has legislated -- >> up to five years, correct. looking at these existing programs, the bulk of the
families to find permanent and subsidize hounding, that housing is between 18 and 21. that is sort of the average, the bulk, but their families, of course, that need more time. we have the flexibility, given your legislation, to give them more time. we envision, although we have not really thought about the past two years, but we would envision a similar design. so the families were targeting on the waiting list, families who have kids in san francisco schools who are on the waiting list, if they cannot find permanent housing after two years and they are complying with the program and what we expect of them to be in the program, then we will likely extend them, similar to what we do now. the third, staffing. the rental subsidies, and of course, whether their security deposits, first month rent, looking at if they need furniture, that sort of thing. sort of tavon in those resources
so families can move in to a unit soon. the other part that is not in an official city document is that we think we can leverage volunteerism from our court -- corporate partners. we have had discussions with the family about the sales force donation and using employees and volunteers to step up and help provide some of the move-in support. we are exploring an adopt-a- family approach. it is a good way to galvanize san francisco's companies employ using guinta stubhub. -- and get them to step up. the next steps on how the program will be expanded and the mechanics of the contract and that sort of thing the less i believe that the salesforce
foundation reps will be meeting with our nonprofit partners. we can learn how to move forward as quickly as we can. the goal is to get as many families into permanent housing to the authority or subsidies before christmas. it is a very aggressive time line. we recognize that. we have referred -- we will refer 25 to 30 families today to the hamilton subsidy program. that is already in motion. with the 51 families processing on tuesday and the 25 to 30 that we are referring to the subsidy program, we could get as many as 75 families in before christmas. supervisor avalos: that is in the subsidy program, but there marginally house, we still have to get them into some kind of housing situation? >> the initial target, and the family was clear on where the what the money to go, the initial target is the families in shelters and on the waiting
list. our current subsidy programs target other families as well, families in sro's, and families in precarious situations. we want to target families in shelters, on the waiting list for shelter, and who have kids in san francisco's schools. that is the criteria we're looking at, and would target those families. 79, roughly, families in shelters. . 250 on the waiting list. -- roughly 250 on the waiting list. our goal would be to be able to serve the entire universe, be able to run through the whole current waiting list with these new resources, as well as the partnership with the housing authority. with that, in the questions. supervisor avalos: let's hear from mr. alvarez, as well.
thank you for your presentation. >> good morning today also from the housing authority. you have heard a lot about what we're already doing. we have been communicating with our colleagues and with the city family about our ability to put families in permanent housing situations. we have approximately 115 vacant units at the moment, and we're going to expedite and tuck these families in the city shelter and expedite those units so that we can get those families housed. our commitment is to try to do that before the holidays. it will mean moving resources from things that we were doing to this particular priority. i think rather than revisit all the things we have already heard, it may be more expedient to more interesting for everyone to simply entertain your questions. i think he clearly articulated what we're doing together
collectively. as the dialogue continues, i think we will get a better understanding of the housing authority's operations and what is that we're able to do and are consistent movement in housing homeless families. i would say, however, before we get to that discussion, that homeless families are our number one preference in our housing processes on both sides of the aisle, of public housing and in our section eight product. their number one. as a result, we typically house a number of homeless families. what we're doing specifically different in this particular case is we are matching the intersection family-for-family between the shelter process that the city is operating in the waiting list that the housing authority operates. what we're discovering is that many of those families, there is an intersection. they're not always number one.
they could be 200, 300. our goal is to try to process families in an expeditious way to get to all of those families. with that, i think there will sit and try to get to the question and answers. supervisor avalos: ok. you know, this past year, i have heard that there has been a lot of families with in the housing authority that actually have been evicted, and i am wondering if we're seeing now some of those families that have lost their housing in the house about 40 are now in our shelter system and coming back into the housing authority buildings. what has happened over the past year in terms of families being marginally house, being released from the housing authority, and what conditions lead to families end up being evicted? >> i would like to talk about those it the context. there are those families that
week evict for cause, for some sort of lease a violation. violence, drugs, criminal activity, not abiding by their lease. then there are families that we have to structure it processes for rent payment. in those cases, we go to extraordinary lengths. we have had a call to the housing authorities of families not paying rent. what we have attempted to do over the last year is to change that culture by trying to find ways to convince our families that they should pay rent. typically that rent payment is 30% of their monthly adjusted income. in some instances, what we're doing with families if they have arrearages from however long ago that has been, we have asked them to enter into payment plans. in those instances, those play meant plans to renegotiate at nominal values. it could be as little as $1, in addition to what their average a
normal monthly mental -- rental payment would be. if you have not pay your rent for the last year and we get to a point where we enter into a discussion with the family about paying rent, we would say to that family, let's make a play end of how you will pay an additional not more than 5%, but maybe it is just $5. and your rental payment is $100. for the foreseeable months into the future, we're asking families to pay $105. $100 of their normal range, and five additional dollars to cover their rear edges. additionally, we are writing off arrearages better significantly old enough that they are uncollectable by statute or simply by our collection process. so we are actually ievicting a limited number of families or not paying rent, and those are only those families who were unwilling to cooperate with the
agency in terms of entering a payment plan or becoming current in their rental structure. supervisor avalos: do you know how many families that has been over the past year? >> historically, it has been about a third of our inventory. anywhere from 1300 to 1500 families have not been paying rent. supervisor avalos: of that number, how many end up becoming infected? >> there has been a minimal number of folks. i would say a handful, less than 50. in the three and a half years that i have been here, we have tried not to evict families for nonpayment of rent. again, those families who, when we get to the eviction process, which requires a court activity, we are typically asked to go into the hallway and created a plan of action that allows the family to stay. in those instances, we're either writing off those arrearages that are older than the statutory limit, and we're coming to obtain an agreement on coming to obtain an agreement on the back rent, and we're asking